International students often find themselves drawn to Monmouth University’s personalized program offerings and central location near the East Coast’s most cosmopolitan cities, but after graduating they may find that their education takes them further than they had ever imagined. After completing her undergraduate education in Australia, Gold Coast native Julie Hudson was living with a family in Little Silver, close to the Monmouth campus, and working locally. Possessed by an interest in travel, international development, and diplomacy, and with a desire to earn an advanced degree to further those interests, Julie found herself intrigued by Monmouth’s Master in Social Work.
“It was weird,” Julie said. “It felt like I was meant to be here. It wasn’t until I looked at Monmouth University that I realized this is what I wanted to do.”
Using her degree, Julie found work with the Australian Agency for International Development. After passing through the organization’s stringent screening process—out of more than 1,000 applicants, just twenty were selected—Julie went on to become the Second Secretary for Education in Laos.
“I was very well prepared,” Julie said. “I don’t think I would have gotten the job if it weren’t for my experience at Monmouth. It was the Master’s in Social Work that helped me stand out from the rest of the pool. The fact that Monmouth has such a global program and it draws from different countries and perspectives—yet it is at a small university—I find that very impressive.”
Now that her term with the Australian Agency for International Development is winding down, Julie is preparing to study Montessori education in Italy.
The Gold Coast, Australia
Faculty Member Influence
“All of my professors had a lot of influence on me, which makes it hard to single one individual out,” Julie said. “School of Social Work Dean Robin Mama was very supportive of me, both while I was at Monmouth and as I moved on to my career. Rosemary Barbera was also great; I had her for quite a few classes. Morris Saldof was a mentor to me, and Paul Long, Director of Field and Professional Education, has been wonderful to me.
Organizations that helped me as a student
As a Social Work student, Julie had an extensive experiential education component as part of her degree work. While at Monmouth she participated in several internships and an overseas field placement.
“I became an intern at the American Red Cross of Central Jersey because I was interested in emergency response and disaster relief,” Julie said. “We did a lot of responding to calls—as part of the experience, you have to be on call for a week and take calls yourself. You have to assess how to handle high-stress situations for yourself. I ended up staying as a volunteer with them for a long time.
“Then I became an intern at the Inter-Agency Network for Education In Emergencies, which is a global network that tries to provide support in the wake of disasters. In emergency and relief situations, education often falls by the wayside. Several nongovernmental organizations and the United Nations have pushed for education to be a priority, so I learned about ways to ensure education continues in the middle of disasters. That helped me jump into something more global.
“My field placement in India was at the South Asian Center for Education and Research,” Julie said. “While there, I participated in lots of different activities, but one I will never forget is engaging in community photography with women. This was in 2007, I was in Tamil Nadu, and they were still dealing with the impact of the 2004 tsunami. There were still people affected by it. We moved forward with community gardening, I did photography with the kids around the area, and we engaged in peace education—exchanging photos and letters between kids in Rumson and India.”
My favorite Monmouth memory
Even as an international student who came to Monmouth for her master’s degree as she worked and lived off campus, Julie made lifelong friendships and connections while taking classes.
“I have a lot of memories of the students and the people I have met,” Julie said. “That is probably my favorite part of having enrolled at Monmouth. There are still a lot of people I’m in touch with, and making those kinds of friends speaks to what a special place Monmouth is.”